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Blackface on video: another Tony Snow teachable moment

It’s time for another lesson on the end of racism. The White House press spokesbot and former Faux News talking head has done a great job of educating me on the state of racism in this country today, but I have a bit of bad news to break to him, coming from the campus of Texas A&M.; (ABC Blotter):

At the same moment, Pres. Bush was introducing Texas A&M; Pres. Robert Gates as his nominee for Secretary of Defense, hundreds of students at the university were protesting a videotape featuring a white student wearing black shoe polish on his face, acting as a slave.

It is an example, some professors say, of the unfinished business Gates will leave behind at Texas A&M;: ending racial hostility on campus. “It is institutional and has permeated the university for a long time,” says Zulema Valdez, a professor of sociology at Texas A&M.;

Just before leaving for Washington, Gates condemned the blackface video as “so utterly disgusting that, regardless of race, religion, or background, I believe virtually any member of our Aggie family would be outraged and ashamed if they viewed it.”

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…On the tape, the white student in blackface is disciplined by a second white student playing the role of a slave master with a belt. Professors say the white student is carrying a “12th Man Towel,” a symbol of how Texas A&M; fans help the football team. In the three-and-a-half minute tape, the student in blackface is put through a mock whipping and sexual assault.

In a letter to students on Tuesday, Gates wrote, “The hateful video is not simply an example of poor judgment and insensitivity; it appears to have been purposefully produced to insult and demean.”

ABC has the video here. You need to surf over and take a look at some of the comments on this story at The Blotter.


Graphic: The fabulous Mike Tidmus for the Blend

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding